Moving System Folders to Another Location in Windows 10

Learn more about our Windows textbooks


With the advent of solid state drives, computers have become faster but storage has decreased. Solid State drives aren’t meant for large storage. That’s why it’s nice to change the location of the system folders to another location.  In this lesson, I’ll show you how to move your system folders to an external drive or alternative location.

System Folders in File Explorer

To move system folders, you first need to open the folder in which all the system folders reside.  To open the System Folders in File Explorer, follow these steps:

  • Open the Run Dialog of Windows (WINDOWS KEY-R)
  • In the edit field, input: %userprofile%
  • Press ENTER

The user profile folder opens with all the system folders.  The system folders include:

  • Documents
  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • Music

Navigating Among Folders

The display may be in a large icon view forcing you to use ALL FOUR ARROW KEYS to navigate among the folders.  This is easily changed within the view ribbon of File Explorer.  To change the layout of the folders within the list view, follow these steps:

  • Open the View Ribbon (ALT-V)
  • Activate the Layout group (L)
  • Use ALL FOUR ARROW KEYS to select a layout option (I like “List”
  • After selecting the layout you’d like to use, press ENTER

You can now use UP AND DOWN ARROW to navigate among the folders.

Folder Properties

The option to move system folders are located in the properties of the folder. There are a couple ways in which to open the properties of a folder. You can open the properties via the Windows Application Menu or a Windows accelerator.

Let’s explore each:

Open Properties via the Windows Application Menu

To open the properties of a folder from within the Windows Application Menu:

  • Focus on the folder whose properties you’d like to view
  • Open the Windows Application Menu with the WINDOWS APPLICATION KEY
  • Activate the “Properties” option at the bottom of the menu

Open Properties via a Windows Accelerator

  • Focus on the folder whose properties you’d like to view
  • Press ALT-ENTER

The Location Property Sheet

Once focused in the properties dialog of the system folder you’d like to move, navigate to the “Location” property sheet. Navigate among property sheets with CTRL-TAB and CTRL-SHIFT-TAB.

If you aren’t sure upon which property sheet the cursor is focused, press TAB or SHIFT-TAB until focus is on the property sheet tab.  The property sheet tab has the name of the property sheet upon which you’re focused.

Once focused on the location property sheet, focus on the “Move” button and activate it.

Moving the Folder

After activating the Move button a “Select Destination” dialog opens.  This is the dialog through which you’ll select the new location for the folder. The relevant fields in this dialog include:

  • Folder – If you know the path to the new location, input the path into this edit field and activate the “Select Folder” button
  • List Box – Press SHIFT-TAB once from within the folder edit field to access the list view. You can use the list view to navigate to the new location and activate the “Select Folder” button

After selecting the new location, the dialog closes and focus is back in the property sheet.  The new path is in the edit field. Activate the OK button to effect the change.

A dialog opens asking if you want to move the folder from the current location to the new.  Answer yes and the folder is moved to the new location.

It May Take Time

My document folder had over 56 gb of data. It took nearly a day to move all my documents.  Be patient, let the computer do it’s thing and, when it’s done, you’re C drive will have a lot more room!

Accessing the Folders

After moving system folders, you can still access them through the navigation pane of the varied dialogs and File Explorer. The only difference is that the folders are now located on a hard drive with plenty of room to grow!